SkySQL aims for high-availability database clusters with MariaDB Enterprise

The product combines MariaDB with Galera Cluster and will compete with Oracle's MySQL Enterprise support subscription

Finnish software vendor SkySQL has launched the first version of MariaDB Enterprise, a subscription product which combines the MariaDB database with clustering software.

By bundling the open source MySQL variant MariaDB with the third party component Galera Cluster, SkySQL wants to let users cluster multiple databases without a single point of failure. If one of the databases fails, Galera Cluster allows the others to keep on going, providing a high availability system.

But the "real secret" that makes MariaDB Enterprise work is a manager that provides a user interface for easily configuring high availability clusters as well as an API (application programming interface) for integrating it into a company's IT automation process, said SkySQL's product manager Rich Sands.

"The manager tool makes it much simpler to configure a Galera Cluster using MariaDB," Sands said.

"Instead of it being a tedious process of manually configuring multiple servers with database software and than integrating them all together ... we're providing a very simple tool to configure this quickly from either a bare Linux machine, a virtual machine or an Amazon machine instance," he said, adding that users can have a working Galera Cluster in a few minutes.

Getting a cluster configured and set up can be daunting, and companies often need additional consulting and support, Sands said. MariaDB Enterprise aims to make this easier with 24/7 support as well as with access to updates and maintenance releases, he added.

"The primary competition for SkySQL comes from Oracle, and its MySQL Enterprise support subscription, which includes capabilities not offered in the open source MySQL Community Edition, such as monitoring, backup, high availability, security and scalability," said Matt Aslett, research director for data management and analytics at 451 Research in an email.

The MariaDB project is designed to match those proprietary capabilities with open source alternatives, a strategy that is also being followed by Percona with its Percona Server distribution, he said.

The MariaDB Enterprise base configuration for 3 nodes is available for about US$20,000, or €15,000, for a one year subscription, Sands said.

That is a competitive price, especially considering it involves support for both MariaDB and Galera Cluster, according to Aslett.

"Given the history of MySQL, including functionality being made available only to MySQL Enterprise subscribers, it is important to note that all the software included in MariaDB Enterprise is open source," Aslett said.

Users are free to download MariaDB itself, as well as Codership's Galera Cluster and MariaDB Manager without having a relationship with SkySQL. They pay for a pre-configured distribution and a support subscription, as well as maintenance, patches and updates, he added.

MariaDB Enterprise is going to appeal to small and large businesses that have stringent availability requirements, according to Sands. Small companies might be fine with a small cluster of three to six nodes, while larger companies might use MariaDB Enterprise for multiple applications or larger applications that require a larger number of nodes, he said.

While MariaDB Enterprise right now is very focused on the creation of high availability MariaDB clusters, SkySQL expects to add capabilities for scalability and development in the future, he said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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